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Black and White

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Separate but equal!

I'm certain if you're someone who has access to the Internet or possibly lives in any of the Western countries, has no doubt heard of the aforementioned phrase as well as the fear, anger, cruelty, pain alongside the racist connotation surrounding it.

Warning : This case details the racism that surrounded the black community in the 1950s. Please do not read further if you are uncomfortable about such content.

My intention was not to harm or insult the black community in any format whatsoever. I hope I was able to provide a short summary of the aforementioned case.

Well, today, I'm here to tell you a little story about a certain case known as Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

This case was the compilation of five cases in total - the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the Briggs v. Elliot case, the Davis v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County (VA.) case, the Bolling v. Sharpe case, and the Gebhart v. Ethel case.

Wow! Now, that's a lot of cases. Here, let me make it a little simpler for you.

Each of these cases actually had simply one issue in common - they questioned the legitimacy of state-sponsored segregation in public schools.

Such was the deplorable state to which the black community had been reduced to back in the day. As the subtly racist slogan quoted 'Separate but equal'. I must offer my most enthusiastic contrafibularities to the person who coined such a phrase. Touché, with quite a lot of racism, might I add.

Anyway, coming back to our story.

It all culminated in a final legal battle in the year 1953,however, let us get to know the plaintiff of the case first.

Our plaintiff whose name was Oliver Brown filed a suit against the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, in 1951, after his daughter, Linda Brown, was denied entrance to Topeka’s all-white elementary schools.

In his lawsuit, Oliver claimed that schools for children of colour were not equal to the white schools, and that segregation violated the so-called “equal protection clause” of the 14th Amendment, which holds that no state can “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

It first stood for trial in the U. S. District Court in Kansas, which agreed that public school segregation had a “detrimental effect upon children of colour” and contributed to “a sense of inferiority”, however, it still upheld the 'separate but equal' doctrine.

When this case alongside four others, came before the Supreme Court in 1952,the justices were divided on how to rule on the aforementioned matter, with Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson holding the opinion that the Plessy verdict should stand. However, before the case was to stand for trial in court, he died and President Eisenhower had him replaced with Earl Warren.

Earl Warren was a man of considerable political skill and determination and he succeeded in engineering a unanimous verdict against school segregation in the following year.

In the decision, issued on May 17, 1954, the earl wrote that 'in the field of public education' , the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place, as segregated schools are “inherently unequal”.

As a result, the Court ruled that the plaintiffs were being "deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment"

*To read further into what happened afterwards, you may read about the 'Little Rock Nine' here.*

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